Tag Archives: Indus Creed

Bacardi NH7 Weekender 2015 – Shillong

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Abhilash Baishya

Abhilash Baishya, a 19 year old student from Guwahati is an aspiring Engineer and a hobbyist photographer. He's a movie buff and loves music.

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Farhan Akhtar and Anurag Rao on Farout Media and ‘Mutant Macha’

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In a first-of-its-kind initiative, Music Publishing and Talent Development Company Farout Media has created a new song ‘Mutant Macha’ and licensed it to Star Movies for the television premiere of X-Men: Days of the Future Past on 19th April, 2015. The song ‘Mutant Macha’ is a collaborative effort between Farhan Akhtar, Vishal Dadlani and Chennai-based band Skrat. 

We spoke to Farhan Akhtar and Anurag Rao, founders of Farout Media about ‘Mutant Macha’ and the other interesting projects they have lined up this year!

WTS: Tell us about Farout Media and the vision of the company with respect to contributing to the indie scene. 

Anurag: Farout Media is a start-up focused on music publishing, music and its IP management and a talent development company formed by Farhan and me. We’re incubating multiple ways of creating and enabling artist-centric independent music, which creates new avenues of distribution, monetization and promotions.

Farhan: There are three aspects to the business model : Talent Development, Music Licensing and Content Monetization. Our vision is global and reflective in the partnerships we have created so far. The founding team of Farout Media brings about very successful media entrepreneurs and diverse experiences.

WTS: Can you give us more details on how you intend to bring indie artists from India into the mainstream and monetize content?

Anurag: Through music innovations, it’s monetization and Cross Media Partnerships (TV, Film, Advertising, Sports and Digital). In the case of ‘Mutant Macha’ we pre-sold 100,000 digital music downloads and created a new revenue stream for the content.

Farhan: At the incubation stage of the company we are narrowly focused on a specific skill set in musicians i.e. singer-songwriters and performers. Our efforts are to drive this aspect and infuse it with large global partnerships which leads to the monetization aspect. We firmly believe that in the changing landscape of the music business, pre-sale of content is the best way to monetize independent content or rather new music works that are yet to be released. Hence, we bundle Artist Association, Artist Engagement, New Musical Works in Brand Marketing Partnerships and Corporate Social Campaigns.  A component of that is pre-paid music in the commercial transactions.

Two campaigns have gone out so far: ‘Chulein Aasman’ (a song illustrating Gender Equality) in partnership with Google’s HWGO Campaign and ‘Mutant Macha’ (a song about finding the ultimate hero) in partnership with Star Movies’ X-Men Days of the Future Past TV Premier.

The second aspect of monetization is Music Licensing across the existing retail of music, for which we have a partnership with Times Music. Our music is available globally and across the main platforms of music consumption – iTunes, Spotify, You Tube, Facebook or local majors Gaana, Saavn etc.

And, the third aspect of packaging this to main stream is bringing in unique artist collaborations within our talent roster and breaking indie musicians through co-creation of new musical works with successful and mainstream musicians or talent.

WTS: Tell us more about ‘Mutant Macha’. How did the collaboration with Skrat and Vishal Dadlani come about? 

Anurag: Mutant happened after we created a ‘Music Synchronisation’ opportunity with Star Movies around their On-Air Programming.

Farhan: Anurag played me Skrat’s Music and I really liked their sound. They seemed apt for this project and Vishal Dadlani agreed to participate as a Co-Writer and Curator. This lead us to the studio session and creation of ‘Mutant Macha’.

WTS: What made you pick Skrat over other Indie bands for this particular project? What was it like working with the band?

Anurag: Skrat is a very talented band from Chennai and both Farhan Akhtar and Vishal Dadlani love their music.

Farhan: Skrat’s music demonstrates a great understanding of Progressive Rock. Sriram is an extremely talented singer-songwriter. As a 3-member band they are kickass, Sriram’s guitar riffs come screaming out loud. The best part about Skrat is that they won’t compromise on their integrity for anything, that’s why they make such brilliant music.

WTS: Is ‘Mutant Macha’  part of a series of song and music videos you are making for Star Movies?

Anurag: This is a beginning of a new relationship with Star Movies and we will continue to build music innovations from here.

Farhan: This is the first opportunity and yes we are discussing more creative collaborations which help everyone in the value chain.

WTS: What is your opinion about the absence of indie artists in film music? It is incredibly hard to find music by any musicians and singers from the indie scene that is part of a film soundtrack. Do you have any plans of making this happen?

Farhan: There are two dynamics of the film soundtrack that are changing – we have more bands and performers composing music now and each work of film is Indie in itself, if you think about it. The musical work is unique and never heard before.

We believe with the growth of Music Publishing side of the Business, licensing musical works is not too far, in fact, it is already happening in many cases and it will continue to grow. At Farout Media, we are in conversation with multiple movie studios to work on such assignments.  One part of Farout Media’s Music DNA is being a Music Publisher as well.

Anurag: The industry at this stage is dominated by Bollywood and as a musician, one needs to be networked with powerful and influential people, to get the music heard. At the same time there is a lack of Music Supervisors and A&R skill-set who can connect the dots between the music projects – new music and artists.

The film music OST is changing as well, music is being made with various artists and licensed musical works are becoming hit songs. Our effort is to take the new music and emerging talent and amplify them across multiple media consumption platforms.

WTS: What other interesting projects do you have lined up in the near future?

Farhan: We are working on multiple artist collaborations and artist-fan direct connections and will share that information over time.

Anurag: Our current focus is on couple of things : unique artist collaborations, artist-fan engagement models, indie works monetization models, global presence, strategic and scalable partnerships and amplifying the MARD initiative through creativity. Projects are subset of this direction of the company and we believe with every opportunity we create and make visible in the market place, the universe of music business gets a positive impact.

The interesting part is to make contributions in the changing landscape of the music business and the new music industry formation. We are making a contribution in safeguarding the interests of the talent, their fans and our partners in the value chain that includes the existing record labels, broadcast, digital and social eco-systems.

WTS: Which other bands and musicians are you keen on working with next?

AnuragWe are working with multiple songwriters and composers, creating collaborations between the emerging and established artists.  Sunidhi Chauhan, SEL, Ram Sampath, Raghu Dixit, The F16’s, Indus Creed, Shruti Haasan, Lesle Lewis, Sparsh, Shaair n Func are a few names I’m keen on working with.

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Bacardi NH7 Weekender at Nicco Park Grounds, Kolkata

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Abhisekant Basu

Abhisekant Basu is an engineering student . Photography is one of his major interests and he hopes to be a full time photographer someday.

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Ziro Festival of Music 2014

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Menuolhoulie Kire

Menuolhoulie is an engineer turned product designer bitten bad by the shutterbug! He loves photography and design.

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NH7 Weekender Line Up Announced

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This year, the “Happiest music festival” will see performances by some of the most exciting artists from India and around the world. The fifth edition of Bacardi NH7 Weekender returns this November with a huge lineup of some incredible artists from India and around the world. This year, over 100 artists will play on six different stages at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender’s four editions – November 1-2 in KolkataNovember 8-9 in BangaloreNovember 21-23 in Pune and November 29-30 in Delhi.

Speaking about this year’s Bacardi NH7 Weekender lineup, Only Much Louder’s CEO Vijay Nair says, “Preparing the lineup of the Bacardi NH7 Weekender is one of the most fun creative processes in the run up of the festival. It is also one of the most challenging. Achieving the right balance of exciting international live performers, one-night-only festival sets, acts that people will discover and fall in love with after catching them live at the festival, and unmissable Indian artists is really important to creating the perfect festival experience. And this year, I think we’ve managed to strike that balance really well.”

After a successful pre-sale of tickets that sold out in a matter of hours, regular tickets for the festival will be available on Insider.in on Friday, August 22. Fans can gain access to special Community pricing (a significant discount on regular ticket prices) by signing up to the Bacardi NH7 Weekender Community on NH7.in/Weekender. Community registrations will be open for a limited time only.

The Lineup

From critically-acclaimed international headliners, to homegrown musical heroes, this year’s Bacardi NH7 Weekender lineup has something for all sorts of discerning music lovers. Classic Bacardi NH7 Weekender stages like the Bacardi Arena and The Dewarists return, while recent additions like the Red Bull Tour Bus and this year’s home of electronic music, mmx.beat, will also host some incredible live performances.

International Artists

The Vaccines

English indie rockers The Vaccines will play their first ever live shows in India at the Pune and Delhi editions of the festival this year. After releasing a critically-acclaimed debut album What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? in 2011 (incidentally, the best-selling debut album in the UK that year), the band’s 2012 follow-up Come of Age charted at #1 on the UK charts upon its release. They’ve toured and performed extensively with the likes of The Rolling Stones, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Arctic Monkeys and other huge global rock acts.

Fear Factory

American heavy metal superstars Fear Factory will also be Bacardi NH7 Weekender debutants in Pune and Delhi. A band that has inspired countless young Indian metal acts, Fear Factory have had a long, successful career spanning eight studio albums, the most recent being 2012’s The Industrialist, with a new studio release planned for 2014 as well. The band has performed at festivals around the world and for many Indian metal fans, these two gigs have been a long time coming.

MUTEMATH

Valiant US rockers MUTEMATH return to the Bacardi NH7 Weekender after an unforgettable headlining performance at the Delhi edition of the festival in 2013. This year, the band will play the Kolkata and Bangalore editions of the festival, bringing their irresistible energy and unique brand of alternative rock to these cities for he first time. Beloved by rock fans all over, MUTEMATH have released three studio albums and have performed at festivals around the world.

Sarah Blasko

In her decade-long career Sarah Blasko, a singer-songwriter hailing from Sydney, Australia, has released four acclaimed solo albums (I AwakeAs Day Follows NightWhat The Sea Wants, The Sea Will Have and The Overture & The Underscore). Sarah has composed music for film, theatre and dance, and mesmerised audiences with her stunning live shows across most of Europe, North America and Australia. Her most recent album tour for I Awake was her most ambitious, the highlight being two sold out concerts with a 45 piece orchestra at the iconic Sydney Opera House. Sarah is currently writing her fifth solo album and this is her first time performing in India – she will perform at the Kolkata and Bangalore editions of the festival.

Luke Sital-Singh

British singer-songwriter Luke Sital-Singh emerged on the global music scene when he was announced as part of the BBC’s Sound of 2014 longlist. Inspired by the likes of Damien Rice and Ryan Adams, Sital-Singh released his debut album, The Fire Inside, earlier this month. He will perform at the Pune and Delhi editions of the festival.

Songhoy Blues

Garba Touré, Aliou Touré, Oumar Touré and Nathanael Dembélé comprise Songhoy Blues, a rock band from Mali. The band plays, as The Guardian describes it, “raucous guitar anthems dedicated to peace and reconciliation”. Having cut their teeth in Bamako’s club scene, the band recently rounded up a bunch of shows in the UK and will make their first visit to India performing at the Pune and Delhi editions of the festival.

Talal Qureshi

Pakistani electronic music producer Talal Qureshi has been creating music since 2007. His unique electronic sensibilities have earned him praise from the likes of BBC Asian Network’s Bobby Friction (himself a performer at the festival in previous years). Qureshi’s debut EP, Equator, was released in 2012 and highlighted his immense talent and unique approach to electronic beat-making.

Cloud Control

Australian indie rockers Cloud Control shot into the global indie music spotlight with their critically-acclaimed 2013 album Dream Cave. They exist in a dreamy, organic soundscape that has earned them much praise and seen them perform alongside the likes of Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend and 2010 Bacardi NH7 Weekender alumni The Magic Numbers. Cloud Control will play the Kolkata and Bangalore editions of the festival.

Jon Hopkins

English producer Jon Hopkins started his career playing keyboards for Imogen Heap (who played the 2011 edition of the Bacardi NH7 Weekender). He has produced or contributed to albums from the likes of Brian Eno and Coldplay, while his own brand of electronic music is an ambient soundscape of organic elements and exquisite compositions. It is this attention to detail in composition that has seen him soundtrack films such as Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones alongside Brian Eno and Leo Abrahams, 2010’s indie hit Monsters, and 2013’s How I Live Now. Hopkins will play at the Bangalore edition of the festival.

Dinosaur Pile-Up

Formed in 2007, Dinosaur Pile-Up are an English alternative rock band who broke out of the thriving Leeds rock scene of the time and instantly drew favourable comparisons to the cream of ’90s US college rock. Founded originally as a solo project by songwriter and frontman Matt Bigland, the lineup is completed by drummer Mike Sheils and bassist Jim Cratchley. Named after Matt saw the scene in Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong where a stampede of dinosaurs pile up at the foot of a mountain, “DPU” put out their first official release, The Most Powerful E.P In The Universe, in 2009 and have gone on to record two studio albums, 2010’s Growing Pains and 2013’s Nature Nurture. The band will play the Pune and Delhi editions of the festival.

Sachal Jazz Ensemble

An international jazz music collaboration led by Pakistan’s Sachal Jazz Ensemble will perform at Delhi edition of the festival this year. They have topped charts around the globe as a world-class jazz ensemble, while braving threats and intimidation and breathing new life into the dying cultural traditions of Pakistan. Hand-picked from a lost generation of classical musicians who used to play in Lahore’s once-flourishing ‘Lollywood’ film industry, the Sachal Studios Orchestra has made its name with innovative and irresistible interpretations of well-loved jazz standards. Little wonder they’ve been called Pakistan’s Buena Vista Social Club, and Lahore’s answer to the Blues Brothers.

Goldspot

A savoury blend of New Jersey and New Delhi, US indie pop act Goldspot have plenty of fans in India. Siddharth Khosla’s band has been described by the Los Angeles Times Magazine as “A hint of George Harrison at his transcendental best”. The band’s music has appeared on several popular TV series and films. Their latest album Aerogramme was released in 2013. The band will play the Pune and Delhi editions of the festival.

Motopony

US indie rockers Motopony are a band built on a bedrock of contrasts and the gorgeous alchemy of seemingly conflicted sounds, and the feelings mapped over them. Guided by soulful machines, Daniel Blue along with guitarists Mike Notter and Nate Daley, keyboardist Andrew Butler, and drummer Forrest Mauvais, form a warm efficiency to the hard-soul/glitch-folk contained on the band’s self-titled debut and forthcoming follow-up. The band will perform at Pune and Delhi editions of the festival.

Indian Artists

Amit Trivedi

Composer Amit Trivedi has long been hailed as the new voice of Indian film music. His critically-acclaimed work in films like Dev.D, Udaan, and Ishaqzaade have earned him a reputation as being one of the most cutting-edge producers in Indian films. His live performances comprise a vast list of collaborators and performers, and Bacardi NH7 Weekender fans in Bangalore and Delhi should expect memorable live sets.

Skyharbor

India’s biggest metal exports, Skyharbor shot into the global metal spotlight with their 2012 debut album Blinding White Noise: Illusion and Chaos.Their first ever live performance was at the 2011 edition of the Bacardi NH7 Weekender, and since then they’ve gone on to play at some of the world’s biggest metal stages, including the Download Festival earlier this year. The band will perform at the Pune and Delhi editions of the festival.

The Raghu Dixit Project feat. Nrityarutya

At the Bangalore edition of the Bacardi NH7 Weekender last year, The Raghu Dixit Project delivered a visual spectacle unlike any the festival had ever seen. The Nrityarutya dance company brought exquisite dance sequences, elaborate props and some truly breathtaking moments to The Raghu Dixit Project’s music, including the band’s latest album Jag Changa. This year, fans in Pune and Delhi will have the chance to experience this audio-visual treat.

Indian Ocean’s Tandanu 

Indian Ocean is synonymous with Indian rock. The band’s latest album Tandanu, their seventh studio release, is a series of collaborations with some of the country’s most inventive musicians. At the Kolkata, Pune and Delhi editions of the festival, the band will perform alongside some of these collaborators including Selvaganesh, Shubha Mudgal, Shankar Mahadevan, Pt Vishwamohan Bhat, Kumaresh Rajagopalan, and Vishal Dadlani.

The Manganiyar Classroom by Roysten Abel

Roysten Abel’s Manganiyar Seduction has been one of the most stunning live performances ever to be staged at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender. Eight years after The Manganiyar Seduction was first conceived, Roysten Abel is back with The Manganiyar Classroom. Unlike the former, Roysten Abel’s newest production will consist of 40 children of Manganiyar descent. As the name suggests, The Manganiyar Classroom features these talented kids in a classroom setup, complete with a chalkboard. The music illustrates how the right kind of teacher and education is more beneficial than a fixed curriculum. Fans at the Pune edition of the festival will experience this spectacle.

All India Bakchod

All India Bakchod, or AIB (depending on how strict your publication’s editorial guidelines are), are India’s edgiest comedy collective. Comprised of stand-up comics Tanmay Bhat, Gursimran Khamba, Rohan Joshi and Ashish Shakya, the group are known for their hilarious sketches on their incredibly popular YouTube channel. At the Pune edition of the festival this year, AIB will play their first ever live musical performance.

Bombay Punk United and The Delhi Alternative

The past couple of decades have seen the emergence of several punk and alternative rock acts in Mumbai and Delhi that have added a new dimension to the Indian rock scene. At the Pune and Delhi editions of the festival respectively, Bombay Punk United and The Delhi Alternative will pay tribute to the heroes and the music of this scene with collaborative performances featuring a host of local punk and alt-rock artists. These special sets have been curated by some of the punk and alt-rock scene’s most recognizable figures, and promise to take fans through a musical journey that spans Indian and international punk and alt-rock influences.

Monica Dogra

Monica Dogra is usually known for her dynamic vocal and visual performance as ‘Shaa’ir’ from electro-pop act Shaa’ir + Func – however, this year in Kolkata, Delhi and Pune, we will see her in a new solo avatar where she reveals to us a more personal and vulnerable side. From a young girl growing up in Baltimore to Shaa’ir + Func to finally launching her solo career and performing at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender, she’s grown into one of the country’s leading song writers and also one of our most recognizable female voices.

Bhayanak Maut

One of the country’s most exciting metal bands, Bhayanak Maut are veritable legends when it comes to the Indian metal scene. The band has a massive following in all corners of the country, and will release their newest album at this year’s Bacardi NH7 Weekender. BM will play all four edition of the festival this year.

Pentagram (Unplugged)

Few bands have symbolised the breakout of the Indian independent music scene as well as Pentagram. Comprised of Vishal Dadlani, Randolph Correia, Shiraz Bhattacharya and Makarand ‘Papal’ Mane, Pentagram’s electro-rock sound has defined a generation on indie music fans. At the four editions of the festival this year though, fans will experience another facet of the band’s live prowess – a stripped-down Unplugged set featuring reworked renditions of many of the band’s popular songs.

Full City-wise Lineups

Kolkata

AlgoRhythm (Mumbai), Ankur & The Ghalat Family (Mumbai), As Animals (France), BREED (India/US), Bhayanak Maut (Mumbai), Blackstratblues (Mumbai), Cloud Control (Australia), Fossils (Kolkata), Gingerfeet (Kolkata), Indian Ocean’s Tandanu featuring Selvaganesh, Kumaresh Rajagopalan, Vishal Dadlani (Delhi), Indus Creed (Mumbai), Maati Baani (Mumbai), Madboy/Mink (Mumbai), Money For Rope (Australia), Monica Dogra (Mumbai), Mr Woodnote & Lil Rhys (Australia), MUTEMATH (US), Nanok (Mumbai), Peking Duk (Australia), Pentagram (Unplugged) (Mumbai), Sarah Blasko (Australia), Shaa’ir + Func (Mumbai), Sickflip (Mumbai), Sky Rabbit (Mumbai), Soulmate (Shillong), Su Real (Delhi), Superfuzz (Delhi), The F16’s (Chennai), The Inspector Cluzo (France), Them Clones (Delhi).

Bangalore

Adi & Suhail (Delhi), Amit Trivedi (Mumbai), Ankur & The Ghalat Family (Mumbai), As Animals (France), BREED (India/US), Bhayanak Maut (Mumbai), Blent (Bangalore), Cloud Control (Australia), Delhi Sultanate & Begum X (Delhi), DJ Sa vs DJ Skip (India), Dualist Inquiry Band (India), EZ Riser vs DJ MoCity (India), Jon Hopkins (UK), Klypp (Bangalore), Madboy/Mink (Mumbai), Money For Rope (Australia), Mr Woodnote & Lil Rhys (Australia), MUTEMATH (US), Pangea (Mumbai), Peepal Tree (Bangalore), Peking Duk (Australia), Pentagram (Unplugged) (Mumbai), Sarah Blasko (Australia), Scribe (Mumbai), Sickflip (Mumbai), Skrat (Chennai), Soulmate (Shillong), Spud In The Box (Mumbai), The F16’s (Chennai), The Inspector Cluzo (France), The Supersonics (Kolkata), Thermal And A Quarter (Bangalore), Undying Inc (Delhi).

Pune

Adi & Suhail (Delhi), All India Bakchod (Mumbai), Alo Wala (Denmark), Amit Trivedi (Mumbai), BREED (India/US), Bhavishyavani (Mumbai), Bhayanak Maut (Mumbai), Big City Harmonics (Live) (Pune), Bombay Punk United, Castles In The Sky (Pune), Coshish (Mumbai), Curtain Blue (Delhi), Dinosaur Pile-Up (UK), Fear Factory (US), Foreign Beggars (UK), Frame/Frame (Live) (Delhi), Goldspot (US), Indian Ocean’s Tandanu featuring Shubha Mudgal, Shankar Mahadevan, Selvaganesh, Vishal Dadlani (Delhi), Luke Sital-Singh (UK), Madboy/Mink (Mumbai), Monica Dogra (Mumbai), Moniker (Delhi), Motopony (US), Namit Das + Anurag Shankar (Mumbai), Neeraj Arya’s Kabir Cafe (Mumbai), Nicholson (Mumbai), Nikhil D’Souza (Mumbai), OX7GEN (Live) (Mumbai), Pentagram (Unplugged) (Mumbai), Providence (Mumbai), Reggae Rajahs (Delhi), Sandunes (Mumbai), Sickflip (Mumbai), Skrat (Chennai), Skyharbor (Delhi), Songhoy Blues (Mali), Superfuzz (Delhi), The Bartender (Mumbai), The Down Troddence (Kochi), The F16’s (Chennai), The Manganiyar Classroom by Roysten Abel (India), The Raghu Dixit Project feat. Nrityarutya (Bangalore), The Ska Vengers (Delhi), The Vaccines (UK), Thermal And A Quarter (Bangalore), When Pandas Attack (Delhi), Zygnema (Mumbai).

Delhi

Alo Wala (Denmark), Amit Trivedi (Mumbai), Barmer Boys (Rajasthan), Bhayanak Maut (Mumbai), Colossal Figures (Delhi), Dinosaur Pile-Up (UK), EZ Riser vs DJ MoCity (India), Fear Factory (US), Frame/Frame (Live) (Delhi), Ganesh Talkies (Kolkata), Goldspot (US), Hoirong (Delhi), Iamrisha (Delhi), Indian Ocean’s Tandanu featuring Pt. Vishwamohan Bhat, Kumaresh Rajagopalan, Vishal Dadlani (Delhi), Killwish (Delhi), Luke Sital-Singh (UK), Madboy/Mink (Mumbai), Monica Dogra (Mumbai), Motopony (US), Pangea (Mumbai), Pentagram (Unplugged) (Mumbai), Sachal Jazz Ensemble (Pakistan), Sandunes (Mumbai), Skrat (Chennai), Skyharbor (Delhi), Songhoy Blues (Mali), Soulspace (Live) (Delhi), Talal Qureshi (Pakistan), The Delhi Alternative, The F16’s (Chennai), The Raghu Dixit Project feat. Nrityarutya (Bangalore), The Supersonics (Kolkata), The Vaccines (UK).

For more information about all of the artists performing at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender 2014, visit NH7.in/Weekender.

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Black Gives Way To Blues

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It must not be easy being a blues instrumentalist in India. But then Warren Mendonsa, the brains (and fingers) behind Blackstratblues (BSB), has not exactly trodden the beaten path. As a bright young spark on the Indian rock landscape, his band Zero (with Sidd Coutto, Bobby Talwar and Rajiv Talwar) released two albums and an EP between 1998 and 2005 and was a big part of the resurgence of the “scene” in that same period. A two-year hiatus to New Zealand followed during which time Warren put together some solo instrumental material that eventually got released as a free-to-download digital album Nights in Shining Karma (2007).

Black Gives Way To Blues

Named after the Mumbai-born guitarist’s favourite weapon of choice, Blackstratblues have released a couple of albums since then and continue to be a big part of the local live music scene. With Jai Row Kavi on drums, Adi Mistry on bass and Bevan Fonseca on keyboards, this instrumental-only band played at Pune’s High Spirits Café on a muggy Saturday in May to a packed house. The gig started on time and I walked in, surprised at how many people were already there to watch. The High Spirits is a small place, with high tables interspersed in an open-air verandah facing a smallish stage with a bar at the back, and it was nice to see hordes of young people of both genders enjoying themselves and the music. Pune has been experiencing some pre-monsoon showers and ‘Bombay Rain’, with a solid bassline complementing the sweet blues melody, felt really right to set the mood for me.

Black Gives Way To Blues

Clearly, Warren attracts a loyal fanbase, and with good reason. The eponymous black Stratocaster is wielded as an instrument of delicate subtlety rather than out-and-out-shredding, and the audience reacts rather well to this approach. Warren is the consummate bluesman, content to chop and lick his way melodically into the listener’s heart rather than adopt the arpeggios-at-the speed-of-light approach popularized by so many guitar virtuosos since the ‘90s. If you’re looking for a wannabe Vai or Malmsteen, sorry- you’ve come to the wrong gig. But if Eric Johnson or Dickey Betts is more of your style, then maybe you’ll enjoy Blackstratblues. I sure did.

Black Gives Way To Blues

The set was short, around 90 minutes end to end, and there wasn’t too much time-wasting or attempts at crowd-pleasing (often the same thing!)  in between. Original followed original in quick succession and, though the tempo of each song varied, I began to drift a bit and used the opportunity to focus on each of the individual performers. What struck me first was that the band seemed to be composed of thorough professionals who seem to enjoy playing together. I noted with surprise that the usually supremely-composed Jai Row Kavi (Indus Creed, Tough on Tobacco) seemed to struggle through a few songs, triggering a suspicion that perhaps blues is just not his genre…or maybe he was just having an off day. Warren and bassist Adi Mistry share an easy musical camaraderie that shows in their jamming but the levels on the bass were set up a little too high for my liking, giving it an overall boomy sound.

Black Gives Way To Blues

 

The keyboard player was used mostly for fills and intros, though he came into his own on one or two of the band’s originals where Warren was content to just play chords and riffs, a rare sight! Fun factoid: in a 2012 interview to Rolling Stone, Mendonsa revealed that the “black” Strat after whom the band is named was originally gold in colour: it was painted black in Auckland after a band member taunted him about it! In any case, the black guitar made way for a sunburst Strat later in the show, with a much fatter bluesy tone.  It struck me that Warren prefers this tone, more associated with a Gibson Les Paul/Marshall amp combination than the traditional ‘thin’ Strat tone. His pedal train may have something to do with that though, to be honest, I didn’t get a close look at it and the information on the official BSB webpage seems to be obsolete.

Black Gives Way To Blues

A gig composed entirely of blues instrumentals can get a bit heavy for the audience and it was nice that the band interspersed a couple of covers to liven up the mix. The Beatles’ ‘Norwegian Mood’, played in a very original manner replete with fat chops, was refreshing. ‘Jessica’, an Allman Brothers Band staple, and more popularly known as the Top Gear theme, was played faithful to the original pretty much. As a purist, I appreciated that! I thought the gig ended early but later learned that a couple of songs had to be cut from the original setlist, so am assuming they were forced to vacate the stage by 11 p.m. as is customary- oh when will this country wise up?

Black Gives Way To Blues

All in all an evening well-spent. The crowd composed of diehard fans who seemed familiar with the music- it would be a stretch to say they “sang along” since there wasn’t much singing to do- which is always a nice feeling for an Indian band. There didn’t seem to be any sound glitches or co-ordination issues. Maybe the setlist could also incorporate some acoustic stuff going forward.  As someone who is not intimately familiar with the band’s work, I still came away impressed. 10/10 will watch again!

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The Great Indian Octoberfest 2013 – Complete Lineup

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The 9th edition of “Kingfisher The Great Indian October fest” is scheduled on 18th 19th & 20th October . Let the good times begin!

18th October

Kingfisher Premium Kingsland Stage: Arijit Singh, Point of View, Core 304, All The Fat Children

Common Colors World Stage: Exist Immortal, Inner Sanctum

Nocturnal Cell – DJ Clement, DJ Rohan Kapoor

19th October

Kingsland Stage: Hoobastank, Indus Creed, One Nite Stand, Skrat, Slapdash Tavern

World Stage: Avial, Shankar Tucker, Aabha Hanjura, Beat Gurus

Nocturnal Cell: DJ NDS and Blue, DJ Ajit Pai, DJ Inferno

20th October

Kingsland Stage: Mika Singh, Raghu Dixit, Laetitia Zonzambe, Lagori, Machas With Attitude

World Stage: Baiju Dharmajan, Girish and The Chronicles, Slain + Choral Riff, Clown With A Frown

Nocturnal Cell: DJ Joshen Miller, Ash Roy, DJ Jasmeet, Twokid Wickid

Book your tickets on Book My Show

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Indus Creed at High Spirits, Pune

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Indus Creed at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

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